CNN Panel Gets Heated Over Trevor Noah Twitter Controversy

04/01/2015 11:01 am ET | Updated Apr 01, 2015

It was five against one Tuesday night as CNN attempted to tackle the controversy surrounding newly named "Daily Show" host Trevor Noah and some less-than-PC cracks he's made on Twitter over the years.

In the hours following the announcement that Noah would succeed Jon Stewart as the host of the beloved satirical news program, a number of tweets surfaced featuring the South African comic taking jabs at Jewish people and women.

To begin the segment, host Don Lemon rolled footage of Noah, who was born during apartheid to a black mother and a white father, impersonating African-Americans during a stand-up routine.

Guest Wendy Todd found Noah's penchant for mocking African-Americans offensive, having penned an article for The Washington Post on the subject earlier that day.

"We're getting shot in the street because people do not feel that we're of value, and to make jokes that contribute and perpetuate that ideal is upsetting," she said. "It's upsetting and it's irresponsible."

The other panelists (including Lemon at times) almost unanimously disagreed with Todd, arguing that it's a comedian's job to poke fun at stereotypes, and that Twitter isn't necessarily the best way to gauge the strength of a comic's material.

Things began to devolve, however, when Todd and comedian Artie Lange started to argue over whose job it is to "decide" what's offensive and what's not.

“Tweet out a list of jokes we’re allowed to say,” Lange jabbed.

But ultimately actor/comedian John Fugelsang had the last word.

"We're talking about the show and that's exactly what Comedy Central wants us to do," he said.

Comedy Central has stood by Noah throughout the controversy, issuing a statement of support on Tuesday.

“Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included," the statement read. "To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair. Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central.”

Suggest a correction